POSTED : August 24, 2015
BY : Oliver Weisart

To get from point A to point B you would take a good look at a map that delivers the right level of granularity and holds all the information you need. For example, a beautiful hike in the mountains would require a different map than a long drive across several states. Either way, the destination and its relation to our starting point determines the route.

This is no different in the world of Customer Journey Maps. The goal is to capture the journey a customer takes with your brand to identify opportunities to improve the customer experience.

Often times a customer experience is an afterthought that is built around the operation of the business rather than the customer. Customers have to take detours as they interact with the company. That causes friction, reduced customer satisfaction and potential loss of revenue or even loss of customers. Make sure to avoid the common pitfalls of customer journey mapping when you start building your map. Just like a roadmap for a trip, the customer journey map is only as good as the data that goes in and not every map will highlight the primary issues of the customer journey if done incorrectly.

Here are some helpful tips to be sure that the customer journey map is done correctly:

Aligning to an Ideal or Future-State Experience
The first step is focusing on the current-state of the customer journey. This also includes interactions and touchpoints before the customer even engages with your brand.  The current-state journey map needs to highlight what is already working well and focus on what needs improvement from the customer’s perspective.

To accurately capture the customer journey, you should not only look at the current state, but also map the ideal customer journey that outlines the improved customer experience based on identified customer needs. This way you can identify gaps in the current-state experience and prioritize the improvements needed to get to the ideal state.

Once the current state is captured and barriers or gaps have been identified, you are ready to look at an ideal or future-state customer journey. Focus on improvements that are meaningful to your customers, technically and organizationally feasible, and financially viable.  It is vital to identify opportunities that are as important to the business (retention, profitability, etc.) as they are to the customer. Not every improvement is worth pursuing. Other changes may be unattainable due to lack of stakeholder buy-in or operational readiness. Make sure the changes you are looking to execute have the support of everyone across the company (e.g. IT, Finance, Development, Customer Service, etc.).

Test through the Lens of the Customer
Put yourself in the shoes of the customer and consider multiple paths. In today’s omnichannel environment, customers can interact with your products or services in multiple ways both online and offline. Rarely is a journey linear and you will need to orchestrate a seamless experience across all channels in a way that meets the needs of your customers.

Measure the Impact
Once your team has identified the improvements in the customer experience and you are ready to implement, be sure you build in what you are going to measure and how you are going to measure the change you are putting into action. It’s essential to consider the key performance indicators (KPIs) upfront. If it cannot be measured, it is most likely not worth executing.

It may take a little bit of time, but you should be able to determine if your revised customer journey is improving the customer experience. The KPI’s should be indicating progress.

Continue to Evolve and Improve the Customer Experience
To remain competitive, you need to routinely re-visit the customer journey and experience. This is not a “one-and-done” process.  Channels evolve, customers change their behavior and competition is catching up. The good news is that you are already a step ahead. With your map of the customer experience in hand, you can easily identify areas that have evolved and start adjusting the experience.

For more reading, check out this deep dive on customer journey mapping which includes visualization techniques for journey maps and how to align to marketing tactics.

Tags: , , ,